Airbus said Wednesday that it recorded 824 new orders in 2006, its second-best year ever, but not nearly enough to match archrival Boeing ( BA).

Boeing said two weeks ago that it booked 1,044 orders last year, setting a record for the second year in a row. The last time Boeing had more orders in a calendar year than its chief competitor was 2000.

Airbus also said that for the full year, it will likely contribute a loss before interest and taxes to parent company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

"Our financial estimate is a consequence of our 2006 turbulences -- in particular reflecting the effect of the A380 delay," said Airbus CEO Louis Gallois, in a prepared statement. "We are also taking into account the launch of the A350 XWB and the financial impact of Power 8, which we originally expected for 2007."

Power 8 is the name of a program the company is implementing to make it leaner, better integrated and more productive.

The world's two principal aircraft manufacturers went in opposite directions last year. Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to begin flying in 2008, has secured enough orders to become the most popular new aircraft ever. Meanwhile, Airbus suffered a meltdown, with significant delays in production of both its A350 and A380 models.

Airbus said its new orders last year accounted for 44% of the world market and included orders for 673 narrow-body aircraft, 17 A380s and 134 other widebodies. It delivered 434 aircraft during the year, including 339 narrowbodies, nine A300 freighters and 86 widebodies.

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